Friday, October 30, 2009

Timothy Geithner: The Goldman Sachs fink in the White House

Click on image for a larger view

If there's one guy in the Obama administration that I really can't stomach, it has to be Timothy Geithner. What qualifies him to be Secretary of Treasury anyway? Is it because he has spent his life coddling up to the most powerful men on Wall Street?

Today he showed his true stripes again. In what was apparently a private meeting with the Chicago Tribune's editorial board he let his guard down.
Geithner says bailout money well spent by Gail MarksJarvis

As U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner looks back at the efforts made by government to treat the financial crisis, he says "the money spent was very limited."

The comment might seem startling given his emphasis repeatedly on the need to pull back the nation's deficit once the economy is less "fragile" than it now is.  But as Geithner spoke with the Chicago Tribune's editorial board today, he said "I am deeply at peace with the necessity of what has been done" -- including the government's intervention in GM, investment banks, AIG and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  He emphasized that the money is getting repaid.
Still, Geithner notes that while there are "encouraging" signs in recent economic statistics, "unemployment probably will rise further." Although some analysts worry that the nation could be going through a "jobless recovery," Geithner says the recovery so far seems to be following a typical path.

Did he really say "unemployment probably will rise further" and then go on to nonchalantly add that the recovery was "following a typical path"? I wish I had a videotape of that to see his tone and demeanor when he said that. And to capture his exact words.

That's quite a bit different from what he told Congress in recent hearings.
“Unemployment remains unacceptably high,” said secretary to the Treasury Tim Geithner. “For every person out of work, for every family facing foreclosure, for every small business facing a credit crunch, the recession remains alive and acute.”
So when Geithner addresses Congress he strikes a populist tone and says "unemployment remains unacceptably high" and goes on to lament the plight of the working family. But when speaking in private he strikes a more elitist tone and says that "unemployment probably will rise further" and that the recovery is "following a typical path."

Marie Antoinette couldn't have said it better.

I'll bet Geithner never thought that Gail MarksJarvis was going to quote him directly in her column in the Chicago Tribune. I'm also betting he asked the members of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board to turn off all recording devices before he began talking. Now we just have Gail's notes to go by, and I'm sure that Geithner would claim that he was misquoted if confronted with his statements.

And I'm also sure that this is nothing compared to the kind of things he says when he is speaking privately with his friends back on Wall Street. Do I even need to remind you of his incessant phone chats with his Wall Street pals?
Mr. Geithner, Wall Street Is On Line 1 (again)

Even during his most frenzied days, when Congress is demanding answers or the president himself is calling, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner makes time to talk to a select group of powerful Wall Street bankers.

They are a small cadre of businessmen who have known and worked with Geithner for years, whose multibillion-dollar companies all survived the economic crisis with help from U.S. taxpayers.

When they call, Geithner answers. He has spoken with them immediately after hanging up with President Barack Obama and before heading up to Capitol Hill, between phone calls with senators and after talking with the Federal Reserve chairman, according to a review by The Associated Press of seven months of his appointment calendars.
Someone should make a FOI request for Geithner's Facebook records. I can just guess who appears on his "friends list".

C'mon Obama! Dump this guy! If you don't he is going to drag you down with him. It's your choice. You're the President. You can't blame Geithner for your own economic policy.

Like Marcy Kaptur said on a recent interview on Bill Moyers Journal...
MARCY KAPTUR: When Lincoln ran into trouble, during the Civil War, he got new generals. He brought in Grant. I hope that President Obama will bring in some new generals on the financial front.
Marcy knows what she's talking about. Her constituents are on the front lines of the war back home in her district in Ohio.

We need a General Grant at the head of Treasury - not a Benedict Arnold! You can't expect to win a war if your generals are fighting for the other side.

Geithner is Goldman Sach's inside man

Geithner is a plant in the Obama administration from Goldman Sachs. He was a protégé of ex-Goldman CEO Robert Rubin, who gave Geithner a job in the Clinton Treasury Department. You can see here in this picture a young Timothy Geithner humbling himself before his Goldman master.

As New York Fed President, Geithner worked closely with ex-Goldman CEO "Hank" Paulson and Fed Chief Bernanke on the bailout of AIG which benefitted mostly Goldman. Currently, Geithner's Chief of Staff at Treasury is Mark Patterson - a former lobbyist for Goldman Sachs.

It's very simple Mr. President. In order to save your own neck, you must FIRE GEITHNER!

And then appoint someone like Elizabeth Warren or Sheila Bair in his place. Someone who is on the side of the American People, not on the side of Wall Street.

Mr. President, you promised us "change we can believe in" and "hope". The American People had high expectations when we elected you to be the leader of this great country. Please don't let us down. There is enough cynicism in this world already. Turning our "hope" into "despair" only heightens that.

And if you cannot come to grips with the situation and replace your "generals", then let me warn you right now. The American People are a fair and patient people. But when our patience runs out, there will be a political price to pay. And our patience is running very thin.

Related posts
Some more recommended reading

I would also like to highly recommend the following article, which does one of the best jobs I've seen of detailing Geithner's connections to the various men and women of power who run the Obama White House. The writer even found a connection between Timothy Geithner's father and Barack Obama's mother which I was completely unaware of. I don't want to spoil the surprise, so you'll have to read the article to find out.
How Geithner Became Secretary of the Treasury

I believe that Tim Geithner was placed into the treasury position because he is the only person directly associated with everyone listed in the points above. He is very clearly connected to the Clinton's, Two former Treasury Secretary's, Barack Obama, The Ford Foundation, and through his policy choices, he currently controls the fate of our banking system.

After doing my research I am of the opinion that Geithner is in his office as I write this not because of his qualifications but rather as a result of tremendous lobbying power. He is there, because forces greater than him are influencing and calling the shots for Barack Obama; at least in the treasury area perhaps not broadly. This information has ultimately reminded me that our political system is just as incestuous as it's ever been. All in all if my thoughts are true, there is no doubt in my mind that our financial system as it exists today will not be fixed, our banks will not be nationalized, and it will take a revolution to occur for real change to happen within our banks.

I just re-watched this video of Maxine Waters grilling a hapless Timothy Geithner. Take a look.

Now I know why Maxine Waters is being targeted in an ethics probe and her name was leaked to the press. It's payback time! You just can't talk to Goldman Sach's man in the White House that way without being singled out for retribution.

You would think that the ethics committee would go after the big fish in Congress that take lobbying money and effectively sell their votes to the corporations that fund their campaigns. But no-o-o-o. Or you'd think that they would go after people like Timothy Geithner or "Hank" Paulson that sold out the American People to Wall Street to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. But no-o-o-o.

Instead they go after little Maxine Waters. Maybe she did put her hand in the cookie jar. But who in Congress hasn't? She just stepped on the wrong toes. And now she is being hung out to dry. Not unlike what happened to Cynthia McKinney. She's being made an example of. If you want to keep your job in Congress, you'd better keep your mouth shut.

And guess who else is on that leaked list of House members under investigation. Marcy Kaptur. See what I mean about keeping your mouth shut? And no matter what anyone says, they cannot convince me that this leak was an accident.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Goldman Sachs - liar, liar pants on fire!

With great power comes great lies

Not only are Goldman Sachs a bunch of criminals as I've stated before, but they're also a bunch of liars!

Oh sure. You're not surprised and think that this is a trivial point. But in my book, the worst sort of person is a liar. Why? Because you can't trust them. Even criminals can be truthful. But there's one sort of criminal that you can never trust to tell the truth - the psychopath. That's the sort of people were dealing with at Goldman Sachs.

So meet the head psychopath over at Goldman Sachs. His name is David Viniar and he is the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) and the chief spokesperson for the lying bunch of scum over at 85 Broad Street in Lower Manhattan. Here's a map in case you want to pay them a visit like Michael Moore did in his film "Capitalism: A Love Story".

View Larger Map

While your there, could you make a citizen's arrest of the Board of Directors of Goldman Sachs like Moore unsuccessfully attempted to do in his movie? Thanks. You'd be doing us all a big favor.

Janet Tavakoli calls 'em like she sees 'em

I'm a big fan of Janet Tavakoli - the author of "Dear Mr. Buffet". In a commentary which she released on her website on October 27, she pulls no punches. And she goes for a knockout when she calls David A. Viniar, Goldman’s CFO, a liar.
In my opinion, David Viniar’s (CFO of Goldman Sachs) comments in the fall of 2008 were a lie (see endnote), and for that matter, Lloyd Blankfein’s (CEO of Goldman Sachs) later comments to the Wall Street Journal were disingenuous. In the context of what was happening near the time of AIG’s implosion, the key question was “What is going on between Goldman and AIG?” Their rhetoric surrounding this issue is a deft dodge. They may claim they didn’t “technically” lie, but Goldman’s business exposure to AIG posed both credit risk and reputation risk. They seem to overlook elements of the former and put insufficient value on the latter.
JT Note: It is a strong statement to say that a CFO lied to the public, and in my opinion, David Viniar, Goldman’s CFO, lied about Goldman’s exposure to AIG while the AIG bailout was in progress in September 2008. Viniar spoke about risk management, but that is a separate issue from whether or not Goldman Sachs would have money at risk due to its direct business with AIG. Goldman Sachs would have been out billions of dollars in collateral had a bankruptcy‐like settlement been negotiated with AIG, and that is material (see also the commentary above).

This is what David Viniar said during his Sept 16, 2008 earnings call:

David Viniar ‐ The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. ‐ EVP, CFO Sure. Without giving exact numbers, let me just tell you how we think about this. AIG and Lehman, big important financial institution counterparties to Goldman Sachs. We did and we do a lot of business with both of them, as we do with all other major financial institutions. The way we do business with financial institutions is by having appropriate daily margin terms. That is how we are able to do the volume of business with each other that we do. And that goes for AIG, Lehman, and also Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan, and Citi, and UBS, and Credit Suisse. That is how we manage our risk. In addition to the margin terms, we augment our risk management with appropriate hedging strategies. You heard at the beginning of my remarks that we believe one of the biggest challenges we have is to avoid large concentrated exposures; and we took that very much into account in managing our credit exposures to Lehman and to AIG, as well as we do with any other financial institution. Given that, what I would tell you is given the outcome at Lehman and whatever the outcome at AIG, I would expect the direct impact of our credit exposure to both of them to be immaterial to our results. [This last emphasis was added by Ms. Tavakoli.]
She's not the first to notice CFO Viniar's flirtations with the truth.

Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times, who deserves a 2nd Pulitzer Prize, pointed out the same misstatement by Viniar in her iconic piece on AIG's demise written on September 27, 2008. That's right - 2008. That groundbreaking article titled "Behind Insurer’s Crisis, Blind Eye to a Web of Risk" revealed the GS-AIG symbiotic relationship in amazing detail given that the bailout was just taking shape at the time.

Here's a quote from her article which you'll find familiar.
"Few knew of Goldman’s exposure to A.I.G. When the insurer’s flameout became public, David A. Viniar, Goldman’s chief financial officer, assured analysts on Sept. 16 that his firm’s exposure was “immaterial,” a view that the company reiterated in an interview."
She's referring here to the same Sept 16 earnings call that Tavakoli refers to. And Morgenson also highlights the use of the term "immaterial".

It so happens that I wrote an article in my blog in March 2009 titled "Welcome to the Wall St. jungle" where I analyzed Morgenson's article in light of the revelations that had come out at that time about the Fed bailout of AIG. I highlighted the passage from Morgenson above and added a comment of my own.
"Is the NYT calling GS's CFO a liar?"
It's nice to see someone with the credibility of Janet Tavakoli backing up my sentiments. My guess is that Viniar is so used to lying and getting away with it that it is just second nature to him. After all he has powerful people like Robert Rubin and Hank "the Hammer" Paulson ready to defend him.

Hank the Hammer

No not this Hank the Hammer!

He's a character in the way popular video game, World of Warcraft (WOW). But he's got nothing on the real life Hank the Hammer who was described as "the most powerful man in America" in his heyday at the height of the economic "crisis".
The most powerful man in America today is not President Bush. Nor is it the two men fighting to replace him, Barack Obama and John McCain. It is Hank 'the Hammer' Paulson.

For make no mistake, it is the U.S. Treasury Secretary who is calling all the shots on the credit crunch crisis. At the word of this former banker, the American taxpayer has committed hundreds of billions of dollars to save some firms (such as insurance giant AIG) and let others (such as Lehman's) go to the wall.

So who is Hank Paulson, and what gives him the right to play God with the world's banking system? Paulson, 62, was brought up in suburban Illinois, where he won a reputation as a tough, sporting child.

He was an American Football hero at high school and university, and it was on the football field that this 6ft 2in bear of a man won the Hammer nickname. He still works out every day and one former colleague says: 'Hank comes across as a big, tough, redneck.'
What I really think that former colleague meant to say is that Paulson comes across as a hired thug or a Mafia enforcer.

Lock 'em up and throw away the key

I hope that this story gets some follow up. It's truly frustrating to see all these revelations come to light and then nothing is done to go after the "too big to jail" criminals like Paulson and Geithner.

You might also enjoy another article I wrote about Goldman Sachs back in September 2008 titled "Goldman Sachs: Wall St. Gangstas". It's become popular enough that if you do a Google search for "goldman sachs criminals", it is one of the top results. :)

Related posts

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reality comes home to roost in markets

Just about two weeks ago when the Dow went roaring above 10,000 I made the bold prediction that the market had peaked in my article "Prediction: Stock market has peaked". This elicited from some the reaction that I was desperately in need of a brain transplant.

I'd just like to say this. "I told you so!" I know it's a very immature reaction. It reveals a personality that is at once smug and insecure. Guilty as charged!

And what did I say would be the reason for this sudden turnaround? "A return to reality." And what did the fickle financial pundits give as a reason for today's 2% slam dunk of the market.
Stocks slammed

A surprise drop in new home sales sends market lower, with the Nasdaq sliding for the fourth straight session, as investors question strength of the economic recovery.
The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) lost 119 points, or 1.2%, to close at 9,762.69. The S&P 500 (SPX) index dropped 21 points, or 2%, to close at 1,042.63. The Nasdaq composite (COMP) tumbled 56 points, or 2.7%, to close at 2,059.61.

The Dow and S&P have fallen for three of the last four sessions, and the Nasdaq for all three, as investors have turned cautious following a seven-month stock rally.

Since bottoming at a 12-year low in March, the S&P 500 gained 63% through its peak on Oct. 19. But since then, it's lost 5%, as of Wednesday's close.

Enthusiasm about the largely better-than-expected quarterly earnings reports has been tempered recently by concerns about the still-burgeoning economic recovery.
Surprise? Why should anyone be surprised at a drop in new home sales when unemployment remains at record levels. Unless your living in a bubble, this should come as no surprise.
Unemployment is Higher Almost Everywhere

Unemployment rates were higher in September than a year earlier in 371 of the 372 United States metropolitan areas, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The greatest increase in unemployment over the last year was in Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich., where joblessness grew 8.4 percentage points to a total rate of 17.3 percent in September 2009. The second-greatest year-over-year increase was in Muskegon-Norton Shores, Mich., where the rate rose 6.8 percentage points to 16 percent.

In September 2009, the overall highest metropolitan rates of unemployment (again, not seasonally adjusted) were in El Centro, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz., where rates touched 30.1 and 24.2 percent, respectively. These two areas, which both border Mexico, are highly agricultural.
Well let's see here - 371 out of 372. Well we all know the old saying about "damn lies and statistics". But yeah, I'd say that's 'statistically significant'. I think we can all agree that this meets the criteria of "almost everywhere". But still the financially clueless pundits at CNN Money are "surprised" when bad economic news comes out.

Previous peak predictions

Just one last jab at my critics. I don't often go online and make financial predictions. I don't have any financial qualifications to do that. I only make public statements when it appears to me that the markets are so out of whack with reality through gross manipulation, that eventually they have to come back down to earth.

As I was reviewing my previous posts, I came across this one from September 20, 2008 - "Sell High - NOW!". So was I right?

See that cliff on the left? That was September 20, 2008 when the S&P was at 1255. From there it fell to 899 on October 10, 2008. So what do you think? Was I too sensational with my headline of "Sell High - NOW!"? Should I have not used all caps on the word NOW? Was I being overly dramatic by adding an exclamation point at the end? Because, you know, I want to improve my blog writing style.

My Google surprise!

I probably would have waited a while longer to write this post to see what happens with the markets, except I happened to notice a very strange thing. A Google search of 'market has peaked' returns as the top result my previous article. Isn't that weird? I mean, as much as I might wish otherwise, my blog is not on the top of everyone's reading list that is interested in the stock market. The article in which I predicted that the market had peaked was not even a particularly popular one on my blog. In fact, you can pretty much say it flopped. Maybe someone at Google just likes me. I'm at as much at a loss for an explanation as you are.

You ain't seen nothing yet

Alright, I'll go further out on a limb. I'm going to repeat my prediction that the Dow has further to drop. In fact I don't usually look at the Dow, I usually look at the S&P 500. And what I said in my previous article was that the S&P would continue to drop from a high of about 1100 to at least 1000. Right now it's at 1042 which is about half of the way down or a drop of about 5%.

So should you buy in now? No. I would say "keep your powder dry". Unless that is you enjoy giving away 5% of your retirement savings to the stock market manipulators at Goldman Sachs.

Hold on until it hits 990, then dive in. Hey, if it keeps going down after that at least you'll have the good feeling that you didn't lose that initial 10% from the peak. And if it goes up, then you'll be that much richer.

From there, when to get off the roller coaster on the way up is completely up to you. I have no way of knowing in advance what top the market manipulators at GS have set. I just assume that it will oscillate around 1000 for a while.

What about Gold?

I asked this same rhetorical question in my last article. Yes, it's true that gold is also down from its peak. Am I worried? No, because the Plunge Protection Team led by the traders at Goldman Sachs can only keep prices out of whack for so long before they revert back to their natural state. Recently we have seen the dollar rise which has caused the price of gold to go down. But in just a matter of days I fully expect that there will be a resurgence in gold.

So hold on to your gold - whether it's an ETF or a the real thing. Don't panic and you'll be quite pleased with the results. I promise. And if not you can leave me a nasty comment. That should make you feel much better. Just don't get too nasty or a might be tempted to delete it.

BTW, as long as I'm saying "I told you so", I would like to remind long time readers of FNT of an entry from almost exactly a year ago. I wrote an article titled "Buy Gold NOW!" At the time an ounce of gold was worth $733. Since then gold has steadily gone up. It's nearly 40% higher than it was a year ago.

And the S&P 500? Well let's just say "it's been interesting". If roller coasters are your thing, then the S&P was definitely the place to be. I just hope you didn't get out at the wrong time, or likewise buy in at the wrong time, because that could be lethal.

It's your choice you can either hang in there with the S&P for the ride of your life, or switch your investments over to gold for a little peace of mind and security. In fact now would be a great time to do just that. Just remember a year from now. "I told you so."

Russia - the last frontier

If you're really feeling lucky, then when the S&P slips below 1000 you should buy into the Russian stock market with the RSX ETF. It pretty much follows the S&P but is much more volatile.

I happen to think that the future for Russia is brighter than most people currently realize. My one big concern - and its a huge one - is regarding corruption.

But if you think about the big trends - energy, water, farmland, even population. Russia has every reason to be optimistic. Of course that assumes that the government doesn't screw it up, which is a big assumption when you consider the history. Is Putin the next Stalin, or the next Jefferson? I certainly don't know the answer to that one.

Regarding the Russian population, I want to point out one thing that is totally lost in all these discussions about man's impact on climate. When you get to the bottom of these arguments, it all comes down to population increases. What's interesting about Russia is that it has actually lost population in recent years. It's so bad that some experts have warned that Russia's economy could be severely impacted.
UN report says Russia could face labor shortages, slowing economic growth as population falls

Russia's population has fallen by 6.6 million since 1993, despite the influx of millions of immigrants, a United Nations report said Monday, and by 2025 the country could lose a further 11 million people.

The result could be labor shortages, an aging population and slower economic growth, the U.N. said.
Population levels in many developed countries have stagnated and are expected to fall by 2025, but Russia's population, currently around 142 million, has been in retreat since 1992. Russia's mortality rate is among the highest in the developed world, with average life expectancy for males at barely 60 years.

For reasons that are not fully understood, Russians suffer very high levels of cardiovascular disease. But most experts blame the country's overall high death rate on one factor, alcohol. It has been linked to everything from liver disease to Russia's high number of murders, suicides and fatal accidents.

According to a 2007 U.N. report, in 1950 what is now the Russian Federation had the world's fourth-largest population. By 2007, the report said, Russia ranked ninth globally, behind Bangladesh and Nigeria. By 2050, the U.N. estimates, Russia will rank 15th, with a population smaller than that of Vietnam.
Personally, I think this whole idea is ridiculous. On the one hand the alarmists warn us of a coming crisis if the population continues to increase, and on the other hand they warn of a crisis if the population should remain steady or even decline. So which is it?
Halting Russia's population collapse

Demographic experts say Russia's steep population decline could have serious consequences for the economy.

"The numbers are frightening," says Sergei Zakharov, from the Institute of Demography at Moscow's Higher School of Economics.

By 2050, Russia's population could shrink from the current figure of 142 million people to 100 million, according to a United Nations sponsored study published last year.

Mr Jaeger adds that in demographic terms, Russia is in the worst position of any of the BRIC countries.

He explains that India's population has been growing fast, while in China the workforce will continue to expand until 2015, when the population will start to age, but it should not decline.

Brazil, he estimates, will benefit from an 20% increase in workforce by 2025.

Mr Jaeger believes that Russia could face a population collapse.
And keep in mind that Russia is the largest country in the world even after its transformation from the USSR. Will Russia become a deserted wilderness inhabited only by reindeer and bears? I don't think so, although that's hardly the worst thing that could happen.

Related articles

NOTE 1: I should have probably saved this last segment about Russia for another blog entry. I tried to write one earlier, but found the subject too large to address. So I just stuck it in here, mostly just to get it off my chest. Maybe one day I'll write a proper article on this subject. If so, you have just received a free preview. Oh yeah, that's right I'm thinking about charging for subscriptions to my blog now that I'm a top result in Google.

Just kidding :)


NOTE 2: Other interesting top Google results for my blog.

"Goldman Sachs criminals" -> hits on Goldman Sachs: Wall St. Gangstas
"Geithner dollar" -> hits on Geithner's dollar gaffe
"Patrick Parkinson" -> hits on Fed crony Patrick Parkinson named to be top bank regulator

Click on the links above to see the Google search results. Cool huh?

FNT used to be one of the top hits for a search of SIGTARP which hit on my article "SIGTARP is the new sheriff in town" until the MSM got a clue and figured out the importance of this position. You gotta hand it to the ol' MSM - they're big, dumb and slow, but eventually they catch on.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Gaza Freedom March - Bust the Blockade on 1/1/2010!

I just became aware of the Gaza Freedom March campaign to end the criminal Israeli siege of Gaza. It will begin in Egypt on December 29 at the Rafah crossing, and will continue into Gaza. On January 1, 2010 the marchers will break the illegal siege by marching directly from Gaza into Israel.

I urge everyone to support this historic action by getting the word out and making donations. But ultimately, the greatest way to support this action is to actually participate. You can sign up here.

This video in support of the march is as poignant a one as any I've seen. Readers of FNT will recognize many of the images.

For more information go to the official Gaza Freedom March webpage.

Related posts
  • There are too many related posts to mention. Try running a search for Gaza within FNT in the search box at the upper right hand corner, or click on this link for the same results.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Swine flu emergency or a bunch of baloney?

Obama declares "pre-emptive" national swine flu emergency giving HHS "extraordinary powers" after only 1,000 deaths nationwide.

What was the big rush? Shouldn't he have consulted with Congress? According to the official statements, this was done "pre-emptively". A pre-emptive emergency? What the hell is that!

Last week was the propaganda piece on H1N1 on "60 Minutes". This week its a "national emergency". And the sneaky bastards snuck it in on a Saturday when no one was paying attention to the news.

According to this "60 minute" propaganda report, the CDC says "the way this virus is spreading is unprecedented". Wo-o-o-o scary! Grab the kids and run Martha!

Before we all panic about the case of Luke Duvall described in this segment, I just want to highlight a brief passage from the transcript.
In Little Rock, the flu tests came back on Luke Duvall: it is 2009 H1N1, but also something else - staph pneumonia on top of the flu virus.

Staphylococcal bacteria came in behind the virus, in that common co-infection seen in the sickest patients.

Asked what that means, Dr. Michele Moss told Pelley, "Well, it means that some of the injury in his lung is due to the virus and due to the flu, but on top of it he's got just a good old fashioned bacterial pneumonia with the toxins from the bacteria causing his blood pressure to be unstable."
So Luke is infected with H1N1, but he also has a staphylococcal bacterial infection. That bacterial infection is in turn causing the pneumonia. And it is the pneumonia that is putting him in mortal danger. You'll see why this important in a minute. Just keep this in mind as you continue reading.

What is a normal number of flu deaths?

Let's take a look at how many deaths are caused by influenza in a normal year in the US to determine if this is indeed an "emergency" situation.

First stop the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Let's see what they consider to be a normal number of deaths for a flu season in the United States. Fair enough question - right? Not according to the CDC website.
How many people died from flu during the 2007-08 season?

Exact numbers of how many people died from flu this season cannot be determined. Flu-associated deaths (which have laboratory confirmed influenza), are only a nationally notifiable condition among children; however not all pediatric influenza deaths may be detected and reported and there is no requirement to report adult deaths from influenza. In addition, many people who die from flu complications are not tested, or they seek medical care later in their illness when flu can no longer be detected from respiratory samples. However, CDC tracks pneumonia and influenza (P&I) deaths through the 122 Cities Mortality Reporting System. This system collects information each week on the total number of death certificates filed in each of the 122 participating cities and the number of death certificates with pneumonia or influenza listed as a cause of death. The 122 Cities Mortality Reporting system helps gauge the severity of a flu season compared with other years. However, only a proportion of all P&I deaths are influenza-related and, as noted, most flu deaths are not lab confirmed. Thus, this system does not allow for an estimation of the number of deaths, only the relative severity among different influenza seasons. For the 2007-08 season, the proportion of deaths due to pneumonia and influenza was higher than the previous two years, but was similar to the 2004-05 season.
So here's the problem as I see it. Influenza often times does not directly lead to death. In many cases the influenza makes a person sick and then that person later contracts another viral or bacterial disease, which may then lead to death. So the whole idea of attributing a certain amount of deaths to influenza is rife with statistical errors.

I did manage to find online a list of the number of deaths for 2006 for various causes provided by the CDC. That should be good enough for this purpose. And here are the results for flu and pneumonia for 2006.
Influenza and pneumonia (J10-J18)
For all ages: 56,326
Under 1: 263
1-4: 125
5-14: 68
15-24: 184
25-34: 335
35-44: 841
45-54: 2,007
55-64: 3,154
65-74: 6,061
75-84: 16,668
85 and above: 26,617
Not stated: 3
They then break this down for influenza and pneumonia this way.
Influenza for all ages: 849
Pneumonia  for all ages: 55,477
(They also break it down by age if your interested.)
So most deaths are attributed to pneumonia, although the initial pneumonia may have been caused by flu. But the important thing is that there is no way of knowing what initially caused the pneumonia from these statistics.

For instance during the much discussed 1918 flu pandemic which killed between 20 and 100 million people worldwide, guess what the main cause of death was?
The majority of deaths were from bacterial pneumonia, a secondary infection caused by influenza, but the virus also killed people directly, causing massive hemorrhages and edema in the lung.
If that's the case, then wouldn't it also be true that there could never be a repeat of such a flu pandemic with such high mortalities given the current availability of antibiotics to treat bacterial infections? It can also be assumed that public hygiene has greatly improved since 1918 which would again mean that such an outbreak could not occur in the modern United States. Such things that we take for granted as clean drinking water, indoor plumbing and improved nutrition would have an enormous effect on infection rates. And generally were just healthier to start out with, so there is less susceptibility to illness.

Here is an article from 2008 that backs up my case titled, "Bacteria played role in 1918 viral flu deaths, scientists say".
Most deaths in the 1918 influenza pandemic were due not to the virus alone but to common bacterial infections that took advantage of victims' weakened immune systems, according to two new studies that could change the nation's strategy against the next pandemic.

"We have to realize that it isn't just antivirals that we need," said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and co-author of one study.

"We need to make sure that we're prepared to treat people with antibiotics," said Fauci, who study will be released online this month by the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

In both studies, scientists analyzed a trove of historical documents from around the world, examining first-hand accounts, medical records and autopsy reports.

Writing about the 1918 influenza outbreak in the August issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, researchers reported that few deaths were swift, which is what scientists believed characterized a viral pandemic.

Instead, they found that most deaths occurred a week to two weeks later -- indicating that the deaths were the result of opportunistic bacterial infections.
This article suggests that the most important defense against a large number of fatalities due to a flu outbreak is the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics like penicillin have been around for a long time. In fact penicillin was discovered in 1928. That's just 10 years after the famous 1918 flu pandemic. So you have to ask yourself, "if they had penicillin back in 1918, how many lives could have been saved?"

Follow the money

So now it's time to "follow the money". Who would profit from a policy that downplayed the importance of antibiotics in fighting "flu deaths"? (Which are really deaths from bacterial infections.) Hmmm. Let's see. Well, what about the pharmaceutical companies that make anti-viral medicines? And what about the pharmaceutical companies that make flu vaccines?

A little hysteria goes a long way - when it comes to pharmaceutical profits. And a "national flu emergency"? Ka-ching!

"Oh sure, we can have those millions of vaccines ready ASAP, but it'll cost ya extra."

"Anti-viral medicines? Sure, we got that. I can hook you up with a recommended treatment pack of 10 Tamiflu pills at just $120 per pack. At the first sign of symptoms take 1 pill twice a day for 5 days. And you're all set. So now you're gonna need about 50 million packs at $120 per pack... that'll be $6 billion please. You can deposit that directly in my offshore account in the Bahamas - thank you very much."

What about antibiotics like penicillin - how much do they cost? A 30 day supply of penicillin will cost just a few dollars. I'm guessing that penicillin and many other antibiotics are out of patent because they've been around so long. So there isn't going to be the same kind of profit margins as there is for making vaccines or anti-viral medications.
I came across this related article from a few days ago.
Roche Raises Outlook as Pandemic Boosts Tamiflu Sales

Oct. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Roche Holding AG, the world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs, reported a 9.7 percent rise in third-quarter revenue and raised its 2009 sales forecast as more people buy Tamiflu, used to treat pandemic influenza.

Need I say more?
Where have I heard this joke before?

In summary, we have 1,000 nationwide fatalities which may or may not be caused primarily by flu which works out to about 20 deaths per state and Obama is declaring a "national emergency". And of course the national media is just rolling over and playing dead.

Didn't we learn anything from the fake financial "crisis" that resulted in the looting of trillions of dollars from the American people in order to prop up the corrupt Wall Street Banks? Are we just going to repeat this exercise all over again, instead this time the benficiaries will be the giant pharmaceuticals?

And why are they calling it "swine flu" again? Wasn't H1N1 scary enough? Or are they just trying to confuse the heck out of us?

Montreal crowd tells Bush, "give Peace a chance"

[Get ready to overdose on irony. Don't say I didn't warn you.]

In a moment of irony which was not lost upon Canadians, George W. Bush spoke on Thursday at the same Montreal hotel where John Lennon and Yoko Ono recorded the antiwar anthem "Give Peace a Chance" in 1969.
Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal - The hotel reached worldwide fame when John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who had been refused entry into the United States, conducted their Bed-In and recorded the song Give Peace a Chance in Room 1742 at the hotel, between May 26 and June 2, 1969.

While Bush was cracking jokes inside, he was being burned in effigy by protestors outside.

Chants of "George Bush terrorist" echoed in the street as some of the 300 protesters lashed out at the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal for rolling out the red carpet for him.

Many protesters said he should be arrested and charged with war crimes.

Inside the hotel, nearly 1,000 spectators paid as much as $400 to hear Bush speak during the latest stop on his Canadian tour.

He got a standing ovation when he first took the podium to address the eager audience.

"I believe in free speech -- except not today," he quipped, drawing laughs and a huge applause.
In a doubly ironic statement, Bush said "I believe in free speech -- except not today." On the one hand it is ironic in the way he intended, because he was being paid somewhere around $100,000 to speak that day. And on the other hand, it was ironic because of the assault on free speech during his two terms as President.

The statement was reminiscent of another Bush quote: "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."

Humor can sometimes give insight to a person's true character. In this case his extemporaneous jokes about free speech and dictatorships reveal the heart of a fascist who has no respect for the fundamental principles upon which this nation was founded.

More irony

Haven't had enough irony? How about this. Apart from Bush's speech in Montreal he is touring the country giving motivational speeches. That's right - "motivational speeches".
Former Republican President George W. Bush - last seen inspiring millions to vote Democratic - has landed a new gig as a high-priced motivational speaker.

The 43rd President and his wife, Laura, have signed on to the popular "Get Motivated" seminar program. Bush will headline his first event this Monday in Forth Worth, Tex., then follow it up with an appearance in San Antonio in December.
And the title of the seminar that Bush will highlight. Get ready for this. You're going to love it.
Tomorrow the former president will be the main attraction at a Get Motivated program, speaking at a seminar about ''How to Master the Art of Effective Leadership''.
The disclosure of Mr Bush's post-presidential role has already inspired jokes at his expense. Larry Sabato, a professor of political science at the University of Virginia, said: "Maybe it will be 'I'm the model of what you shouldn't be.'"
Ah, the irony. I warned you.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Goldstone to critics - "Read the report!"

Here is a video interview that everyone that cares about the loathsome Israeli attack on Gaza should watch. Richard Goldstone, apparently tired of baseless criticism in the world press, has granted an interview to Al Jazeera to defend the UN sponsored report that bears his name.

And here is the companion article from Al Jazeera, which I have quoted in full.
Goldstone dares US on Gaza report

Richard Goldstone, the jurist who authored a UN report accusing Israel of war crimes and crimes against humanity during its war on Gaza, has challenged the US to justify its claims that his findings are flawed and biased.

Goldstone told Al Jazeera on Thursday that he had not heard from the administration of Barack Obama, the US president, about the flaws Washington claims to have identified in the report.

"I have yet to hear from the Obama administration what the flaws in the report that they have identified are. I would be happy to respond to them, if and when I know what they are," Goldstone said.

"The Obama administration joined our recommendation calling for full and good-faith investigations, both in Israel and in Gaza [by Hamas], but said that the report was flawed."

'Personal attack'

Goldstone said the attacks on him had become personal and that he believed most critics had not even read the report.

"I've no doubt, many of the critics - the overwhelmingly majority of critics - have not read the report," he said.

"And, you know, what proves that, I think, is that the level of criticism does not go to the substance of the report.

"There still have not been responses to the really serious allegations that are made. People generally don't like to be accused of criminal activity.

"So it didn't surprise me that there was criticism, even strong criticism, and it has come from both sides."

Goldstone said he regretted the "extremes from which some of the criticism has come and the fact that it has been so personal".

The remarks follow US criticism of the report, which it says is one-sided.

The US was among countries which voted against a UN human rights council resolution on the report passed in Geneva by 25 votes to six with 11 countries abstaining.

The Goldstone report also accuses Hamas, the Palestinian faction in control of Gaza, of war crime violations, but it reserved most of its criticism for Israel.

Israel's three-week offensive on Gaza between last December and January killed about 1,400 Palestinians, a majority of them women and children, and 13 Israelis.

Israel said it attacked the coastal territory to stop Hamas fighters firing rockets into southern Israel.
Goldstone says at the end of the interview that if Israel does not respond with a credible investigation of allegations of war crimes, then the issue should be further investigated by some international body. He does not come right out and say it, but clearly the implication is that the Israeli government and its leaders would be brought before the International Criminal Court.

In Goldstone's own words, "I think that's where it's going. If they don't have a good faith internal investigation, this thing's not going to lie down and die. It's going to continue."

Here is a description of the International Criminal Court from its own website.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The ICC is based on a treaty, joined by 110 countries.

The ICC is a court of last resort. It will not act if a case is investigated or prosecuted by a national judicial system unless the national proceedings are not genuine, for example if formal proceedings were undertaken solely to shield a person from criminal responsibility. In addition, the ICC only tries those accused of the gravest crimes.

In all of its activities, the ICC observes the highest standards of fairness and due process. The jurisdiction and functioning of the ICC are governed by the Rome Statute.
From this description it becomes even more clear just what is at stake for the government of Israel and its leaders. Now you can understand why Israel is pushing back so hard on the Goldstone report. Israel has a choice. It can either do its own investigation which must lead to the prosecution of the responsible parties, or the case will be brought to trial at the ICC. There are no other alternatives under international law.

Which is why Israel has now gone to the irrational extreme of demanding a change in international law ex post facto. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Gideon Levy weighs in from Israel

I highly suggest reading the new article by the famed Israeli journalist Gideon Levy. Here are a few excerpts from his article in Haaretez titled "Israel's attacks will lead to its isolation".
Dividing the world up between absolute good and evil - our side and our enemies, with no middle ground - is a sign of despair and a complete loss of direction. It's not just our ambassador in Washington, who knows nothing at all about democracy and pluralism and only wants to please his masters. Such behavior - kicking and barking crazily in every direction - is destroying Israel.

Without giving us a chance to voice our opinion, Israel is falling to the status of an international pariah, the abomination of the nations. And whom can we thank for that? Operation Cast Lead, for example. Only the United States remains our automatic and blind ally for all our mistakes. Another democracy that saw its status deteriorating so much would ask itself first and foremost what mistakes it had made.
Any legitimate criticism is immediately labeled here as anti-Semitism, including Richard Goldstone, the Jewish Zionist. We are pushing everyone into a corner roughly and hope they will change their opinions and suddenly be filled with a deep understanding for the killing of children in Gaza. Now America too, even its Jews, are no longer immune to this aggressive Israel mad with grandeur.
The killers of the children of Gaza must be punished. Justice demands it. And so do the spirits of those innocent children.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fed crony Patrick Parkinson named to be top bank regulator

OK. So this is nothing short of outrageous!

I just saw the news that Patrick M. Parkinson was named to be the new "top bank regulator" - in the words of New York Times. So I'm scanning the article half expecting the guy to be a former Goldman Sachs director. I get to the end of the article and breathe a sigh of relief that he's not a Goldman Sachs crony. But then I take another look at the last paragraph and here's what it says.
Mr. Parkinson previously served as deputy director of the Fed’s division of research and statistics, where he worked on issues related to financial regulation. Mr. Parkinson was also an adviser to Mr. Bernanke and his predecessor, Alan Greenspan, on issues considered by the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets from 1993 to 2008.
So right away I'm pissed again that this guy is so close to Bernanke and Greenspan. And not only that but he was part of the infamous President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, aka the Plunge Protection Team. This is the group that is widely rumored to spearhead federal government intervention in the markets. So this guy is an insider's insider.

Alright, so I do a Google search to see what information is available on the web about him. (It's a good idea to do this now before the links get cluttered with the information from this new appointment.) Right away I find - as one of the top links - some testimony before Congress back in 2000. I get ready for a real snoozer full of Fed-speak.

Instead I find more incriminating evidence. In fact I would call this the smoking gun!
I am pleased to be here to present the Federal Reserve Board's views on the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (H.R. 4541). Much of my testimony today will repeat testimony that Chairman Greenspan and I have presented during the last few weeks to other committees in the Senate and the House.

The Board continues to believe that such legislation modernizing the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) is essential.
In its November 1999 report, Over-the-Counter Derivatives and the Commodity Exchange Act, the President's Working Group on Financial Markets (PWG) concluded that OTC derivatives transactions should be subject to the CEA only if necessary to achieve the public policy objectives of the act--deterring market manipulation and protecting investors against fraud and other unfair practices. In the case of financial derivatives transactions involving professional counterparties, the PWG concluded that regulation was unnecessary for these purposes because financial derivatives generally are not readily susceptible to manipulation and because professional counterparties can protect themselves against fraud and unfair practices. Consequently, the PWG recommended that financial OTC derivatives transactions between professional counterparties be excluded from coverage of the CEA. Furthermore, it recommended that these transactions between professional counterparties be excluded even if they are executed through electronic trading systems. Finally, the PWG recommended that transactions that were otherwise excluded from the CEA should not fall within the ambit of the act simply because they are cleared. The PWG concluded that clearing should be subject to government oversight but that such oversight need not be provided by the CFTC. Instead, for many types of derivatives, oversight could be provided by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve, or a foreign financial regulator that the appropriate U.S. regulator determines to have satisfied its standards.
Unbelievable right!? This guy was part of the little putsch that allowed derivatives to be unregulated. He was one of the co-conspirators along with Robert Rubin, Alan Greenspan, Larry Summers and Phil Gramm that rammed through the Commodity Futures Modernization Act on an unsuspecting US public. This directly led to the blow up of AIG which ended up causing the Federal Government (that's you Mr. and Ms. Taxpayer) billions and billions of dollars.

And now this bankster is put in charge to be the "top bank regulator"!? What kind of testosterone excreting glands does it take to nominate someone with those kind of credentials to be a "top bank regulator" while the memory of the Great Bailout of 2008 is still fresh in the minds of the American People!?

Is this really the best you can do President Obama? Do we need anymore proof of who really runs the government? Does anybody care anymore?

P.S. It's now 9 PM and the Frontline program featuring an interview with Brooksley Born who tried to stop this silent coup is just about to start. Don't miss it.

P.P.S. OK. It's 10 PM now. You can go back to watching "Dancing with the Stars" on your DVR now. Forgot to set it? Sorry about that.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Matt Taibbi's "naked short selling article" available online

Just a quick note to let people know that "Wall Street's Naked Swindle", Matt Taibbi's hard hitting article in Rolling Stone on "naked short selling", is now available online. Here's the link.

Enjoy reading it and let me know what you think by leaving comments.

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Obama agrees - "Israel has the Reich to defend itself"

When Gaza was under a brutal attack by US made warplanes used by the Israeli government to commit collective punishment on the civilian population, Obama refused to comment. He said "we only have one President at a time". At the time he was the President-elect.

Now that he has become commander-in-chief of the most powerful empire the world has ever seen, he has spoken out through his representative on the UN Human Rights Council.
Israel and the U.S. called the Goldstone report "flawed" because it ignored Israel's right to defend its people from Palestinian rocket fire. They warned that the vote could jeopardize Middle East peace prospects.
Yes the same tired argument that the blood thirsty Zionists used to justify their campaign of terror is now repeated by Obama's representative in the United Nations. The emperor has spoken. It is thumbs down for the people of Gaza.

So when it came time to vote for or against the Goldstone report, the Obama administration chose to go against the overwhelming international opinion in favor of the report.
The resolution passed 25-6, with mostly developing countries in favor and the United States and five European countries — Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia and Ukraine — opposing.

Eleven mostly European and African countries abstained, while Britain, France and three other members of the 47-nation body declined to vote. Russia and China, two permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, were among those voting yes.
And in a rare move, Britain and France (and three others) declined to vote. They could have abstained, but instead they did not vote at all. This was most certainly a concession to the pressure from Israel. This is the height of ridiculousness in terms of UN "diplomacy".

Here's an excellent Al-Jazeera report on the vote.

Unbelievably Douglas Griffiths, the US representative, complains that Israel was disadvantaged by "the asymmetric nature of the conflict". In this case he is using the codeword "asymmetric" to imply that the Palestinians are "terrorists". When the real "terrorists" in this situation are undeniably the Israeli armed forces using US supplied armaments against a defenseless people. Yes, this is a "asymmetric" conflict. It is stones against guided missiles.

Griffiths talks about "the difficulties [Israel] faced in fighting this kind of enemy in this environment". Again he is speaking in code and when he says "this kind of enemy" he clearly implies that the Palestinians are "terrorists". This is then used to justify the war crimes committed by Israel, because according to the doctrine of "the global war on terror" even the most barbaric behavior is justifiable. And of course Israel can quickly point out that the US could just as easily be accused of war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, if the logic of the Goldstone report is accepted.

And at the same time that the US and Israel are, not so subtly, branding all Palestinians terrorists, they are talking about repercussions to the "peace process" from the vote supporting the Goldstone report. As if Israel and the US had any intention of coming to a "peace agreement" with an enemy which they have declared to be "terrorists".

Finally, here is a video to remind you of the situation at the time when Israel was assaulting Gaza and President-elect Obama was refusing to comment.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Students and strikers close down "expreso Las Américas" highway in Puerto Rico

[See end of article for the latest updates]

In a breaking news story, as part of a general strike in Puerto Rico, students and strikers have completely shut down a major artery in the San Juan area.

Currently there is a confrontation between the police and the protestors. There is a negotiation going on, and the students have demanded that the Police withdraw first and then they will peacefully leave.

There is live coverage on Radio Isla 1320 in Spanish here.

There is an article in Spanish from Notiuno here.
Estudiantes y trabajadores de la Universidad de Puerto Rico ocuparon en horas del mediodía todos los carriles del expreso Las Américas como parte de su manifestación en contra de los despidos y acciones de la presente administración.
Translation (thanks to Google translate)
Students and employees of the University of Puerto Rico at noon occupied all of the lanes of the "expreso las Americas" highway as part of their protest rally against layoffs and actions of this administration.
Police apparently have withdrawn and are now waiting for the students to withdraw so that traffic can flow once again along this major thoroughfare in the San Juan metropolitan area. The situation is tense and the police are threatening to use force if the students do not withdraw soon.

The protests are part of a general strike to protest massive government layoffs.


UPDATE 4:10 PM (Puerto Rico time):
Rafael Cancel Miranda has joined the students who are now withdrawing from the highway. He is encouraging the students to leave peacefully. Miranda was one of the Nationalists that was imprisoned for fighting against American imperialism in Puerto Rico.

UPDATE 4:15 PM (Puerto Rico time):
Some lanes of traffic have begun to flow as the students are leaving peacefully.

UPDATE 4:25 PM (Puerto Rico time):
The crowds are estimated at over 200,000 for the General Strike.

UPDATE 4:29 PM (Puerto Rico time):
Organizers lament that there is no procedure for impeaching the Governor of Puerto Rico, Luis G. Fortuno.

UPDATE 4:33 PM (Puerto Rico time):
Governor warns that if the layoffs do not take place, that the whole government will have to shutdown with dire consequences.

UPDATE 5:23 PM (Puerto Rico time):
Excerpt from Reuters article, "Puerto Rico strikers shut down center of San Juan"
... around 50,000 protesters packed Roosevelt Avenue, the main thoroughfare of the central Hato Rey financial district in San Juan, witnesses said.

Most government offices and schools, and many businesses remained closed on Thursday during the strike protest, which was also backed by religious and student organizations.

"The street will be our battleground. There will only be peace when those that govern respect the will of the people," said Methodist Minister Juan Vera, who addressed the protesters along with labor leaders and other personalities.
This report blatantly fails to mention the closing of a major highway. By all accounts the quote of 50,000 protestors is low. In addition this does not reflect that there were various protests throughout the San Juan area and the rest of the island. The march had the effect of shutting down Plaza Las Americas, the Caribbean's largest mall.

It is significant that the protest was declared by organized labor, but also received support form student and religious groups.

The protests were carried out without any significant violence. The Police have received compliments for their restraint and for not confronting the protestors, which certainly kept violence from breaking out.
The government is hoping to avoid a downgrade of Puerto Rico's bond rating to junk, or non-investment, grade.

Bond rating agencies Moody's and Standard & Poor's rate Puerto Rico a notch above junk level and Fortuno [the Governor] says any downgrade would lead to even more job cuts.
The role of the bond rating agencies in blackmailing the government cannot be ignored. While the US government rushed in to bailout the Wall Street Banks, when it is the states and local governments that face bankruptcy then there is utter silence in Washington D.C.


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Prediction: Stock market has peaked

October has been a dark month in the history of the stock market, and I have a feeling this year may be another example of that. Perhaps not another "black" day, but at least a dark and stormy day.

The current atmosphere in the stock market has a familiar pump and dump feeling to it. The Dow has roared above 10,000 inviting the desperate suckers on the sidelines to jump back in as suggested by Matt Taibbi in his blog.

What will trigger this rush to the exits is not at all clear. Basically just the return to reality should do it. Once the bonuses are handed out at JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, then it will be time to have a horrible quarter to clear the decks in preparation for another record quarter to justify another round of obscene bonuses.

I think the equilibrium point is 1000 on the S&P. Currently the S&P is close to 1100, so that means about a 10% pullback. In some markets it may be much more worse than that. Just look at the emerging economies like Russia and Brazil represented by ETFs RSX and EWZ. They are up 100% year to date so they could easily fall 40% or more.

The way this will probably get written up by the idiots on the financial beat that look to justify every twist and turn of the markets gyrations, will be that this end-of-year cashing in on profits. So the timeline for a correction could be anytime between now and the end of December. But I wouldn't put any money into the stockmarket right now because I think it has just peaked.

What about Gold?

Gold has been much more stable than the markets. It could very well pull back from its highs, but I would expect it to stay above 1000 which would be less than a 6% pullback from current levels of about 1060. It might even go up further in response to the market volatility. I would not at all be surprised by gold ending the year at 1100. In the long term I think an investment in gold will be the safest, least volatile way to make money in the market.

¡Que viva Puerto Rico Libre!

Puerto Rico, the same country that led the fight against American Imperialism and Colonialism back in the 20th century, is once again poised to lead the fight against the Global Elite today. Today is October 15th, the day a General Strike has been called for Puerto Rico.

Puerto Ricans are protesting the massive government layoffs that have been ordered in response to the economic crisis. Puerto Rico is not alone in suffering a huge government deficit, but the crisis there is more acute. And the government response has been more draconian.

So today there will be a historic public protest.
More than 200,000 people are expected to march in a mass rally tomorrow in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as part of a one-day work stoppage to protest Gov. Luis Fortuño’s plan to trim the budget deficit on the backs of workers.

Using recently passed legislation known as Public Law 7, the governor plans to lay off as many as 30,000 public employees and deny collective bargaining to the remainder of the island’s public employees. The U.S. Commonwealth, where unemployment is already at 15 percent, is set to receive $6 billion in federal economic recovery funds, more than enough to cover a projected $3.2 billion budget deficit.

Fortuño, a former Republican delegate to the U.S. Congress, is using the island’s deep budget deficit as a pretext to busting the union and privatizing public services, the Puerto Rican union movement says.
Of course the media in the US has completely ignored the events which have led up to this protest in Puerto Rico. They don't want you to realize that similar layoffs of government employees are occurring all over the US in response to the government deficits.

The importance of this event is that Puerto Rico has been used historically as a laboratory for policies that the Elite hope to eventually bring to the mainland. For instance, Puerto Rico was the first to give tax incentives (going all the way back to 1947) in order to attract business. This initially had some success, but eventually the corporations left when they were enticed away by even bigger profit incentives in other poorer countries. This was the beginning of "free trade" policies and globalization.

Now there is a push towards mass privatization in Puerto Rico. This is another goal of the Global Elite in their plan to strip away wealth from the citizens of the world and to turn us into their virtual slaves. If you live in the US then you had better heed the warning signs coming from Puerto Rico, because your state may be the next to be targeted.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

If only Obama knew...

Just a quick blog to point out why I call my blog "Future news today". Back in June 2008, even before the election of Barack Obama, I had this to say.
Uncle George is watching. And soon it will be Uncle Barack. Just like in the Soviet Union we will be saying "if only Uncle Barry knew"? Guess what? He knows and he doesn't give a damn about you.
And now, just this past weekend on Bill Moyer's show, distinguished economist Simon Johnson had this response.
BILL MOYERS: Does President Obama get it?

MARCY KAPTUR: I don't think President Obama has the right people around him. The poor man inherited a total mess, globally and domestically. I think some of the people that he trusted haven't delivered. I urge him to get new generals. It's time.

SIMON JOHNSON: Louis the Fourteenth of France, a very powerful monarch, was famous for having many bad things, you know, happen under his rule. And people would always say, 'If only Louis the Fourteenth knew. I'm sure he doesn't know. If we could just tell him, he'd sort it out.' You know. I'm skeptical.
Did I call it or what? Personally Simon, I'm way beyond skeptical. I'm downright cynical and have been for a long time.

And I want to say that I think Marcy Kaptur is a great fighter for the people of Ohio and the country in general. But if she is putting her faith in Obama to lead the charge for social justice, then she is bound to be disappointed.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Obama disses fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner the Dalai Lama

Despite his being a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, Obama didn't feel obliged to meet with the Dalai Lama. Even after he, Obama, won a Nobel Peace Prize of his own. You would think that the two of them could get together to celebrate. But instead the Dalai Lama got the cold shoulder from his fellow recipient. So much for peace and brotherhood.

It's all about politics. And at the center of world politics these days seems to be China. When China warns of consequences if the US President meets with the Dalai Lama - then presto! No meeting takes place.

And when China warns of the consequences of giving a Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese Human Rights activists - then presto! The award is given to the "right" recipient. Here you go Obama. I hope he remembers to thank President Hu, when he visits China, for his shiny new medal.

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